Julia Ormond: Robbed of her Hollywood crown by Harvey Weinstein

Robbed of her Hollywood crown by Tinseltown’s biggest monster: Julia Ormond claims Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted and blacklisted her on the cusp of A-list fame after starring alongside Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford

  • In 1995, Julia Ormond was a 30-year-old rising star in Hollywood, appearing alongside the likes of Brad Pitt, Sean Connery and Harrison Ford
  • But, suddenly and sharply, she disappeared from view with little explanation
  • Ormond has now claimed that she was attacked by Harvey Weinstein in December 1995 before her career was sabotaged when she reported him 

In April 1995, a striking photograph of Julia Ormond graced the cover of New York Times Magazine beside the words: ‘When Hollywood needs a new star, it makes one.’

Inside, a profile likened the then 30-year-old actress’ rapid rise to that of Audrey Hepburn four decades earlier. Ormond had recently starred in ‘Legends of the Fall’, with Brad Pitt, ‘First Knight’, with Sean Connery and Richard Gere, and ‘Sabrina’, with Harrison Ford.

The ‘Hollywood machinery’ is ‘determined to make her a star’, noted the piece, which included a glowing quote from disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

But, suddenly and sharply, Ormond, now 59, disappeared from the Hollywood elite as quickly as she had risen into it. News articles and gossip columns occasionally pondered why, without an answer, until eventually Ormond fell out of the spotlight completely.

Now, nearly 30 years after the New York Times Magazine’s profile, the apparent cause of her downfall has been revealed: Ormond was sexually assaulted by Weinstein eight months after it was published, and her career was derailed after she confronted him, a newly-filed lawsuit claims.

Ormond was one of Hollywood’s biggest prospects in the mid-1990s and appeared alongside Brad Pitt in the 1995 movie Legends of the Fall (pictured)

Ormond, pictured on stage at the 1995 Academy Awards, has claimed in a newly-filed lawsuit that she was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein in 1995 and her career was derailed after she reported the attack to her agents

British actress Julia Ormond is suing Harvey Weinstein for sexual battery in a lawsuit describing her as ‘yet another victim of his depravity’. They are pictured with Tim Robbins and Dr Mathilde Krim during a dinner at Cannes Film Festival in 2001

Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year rape sentence in New York and has also received a 16-year sentence in Los Angeles. His behavior, once an open secret among fellow Hollywood executives, was exposed publicly during the #MeToo movement in 2017.

Ormond, who is also suing the CAA, The Walt Disney Company and Miramax, claims she was attacked after a work dinner. He lured her into giving him a massage before forcing her to perform oral sex, the suit claims.

She confronted Weinstein about the alleged attack and reported it to her agents, but instead of receiving support, ‘Ormond soon felt Weinstein’s wrath’, the suit states.

Her meteoric rise to fame was reversed and, in the words of Ormond’s legal filing, ‘the damage… was catastrophic both personally and professionally’. She has ‘nearly disappeared from the public eye,’ it adds.

At the time, Ormond was earning $3.5 million per movie after a rapid rise from TV roles in her native Britain to Hollywood movies.

Ormond’s first notable credit was in Traffik, a 1989 UK series in which she played the drug-addicted daughter of a government minister. Two years later, she had the lead role alongside Dame Vanessa Redgrave in Young Catherine, about Catherine II of Russia.

In 1993, she played her first lead role in a major movie, The Baby Of Macon, which also starred Ralph Fiennes.

Ormond also starred with Harrison Ford in the 1995 movie Sabrina and was touted as one of Hollywood’s brightest talents

Ormond alongside Sean Connery in the 1995 movie First Knight

But it was Legends of the Fall the following year which sealed her place as a future Queen of Hollywood. While critics’ reviews were mixed, the film brought in $160 million at the box office and Ormond’s performance was singled out for praise. Steven Spielberg call her ‘amazing’ and gushed: ‘It’s kind of like watching when Audrey Hepburn first came on the scene.’

Ormond proved herself several more times alongside other leading actors of the day, including with roles in First Knight and Sabrina.

She was also making an impression as an aspiring producer – and it was this which Weinstein allegedly used as an excuse for the meeting which preceded the assault.

Several months earlier, in August 1995, Ormond’s agents negotiated a two-year deal between her production company and Miramax, the company founded by Weinstein.

But at the December dinner, which was ostensibly to talk business, Weinstein ‘said he would only discuss the project back at [Ormond’s] apartment’, which had been provided to her by Miramax, according to the lawsuit. It was there that Ormond says he attacked her.

She confronted Weinstein and reported the assault to her agents, who allegedly urged her not to speak out and warned it could harm her career. She was later transferred to a less experienced agent by CAA and her career declined.

The lawsuit filed by Ormond, pictured at the 65th Taormina Film Fest on June 30, 2019, said she ‘felt Weinstein’s wrath’ after confronting him about the alleged sexual assault

The suit said the ‘the damage… was catastrophic both personally and professionally’ after she sounded the alarm about Weinstein. She has ‘nearly disappeared from the public eye,’ it adds

Singling out her agents, the suit goes on: ‘Not only did CAA fail to meet those basic obligations, but it compounded the damage once Ormond told her CAA agents, Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane, what Weinstein had done to her. 

‘Rather than take Ormond’s side and advocate for her interest, they suggested that if she reported Weinstein to the authorities, she would not be believed, and he would seriously damage her career. Still worse, not long after Weinstein’s assault on Ormond and her reporting of the assault to them, CAA lost interest in representing her, and her career suffered dramatically.’

The lawsuit adds: ‘CAA, Miramax, and Disney continued to handsomely profit from their close association with Harvey Weinstein for many years after Ormond was assaulted by him and then cast aside by Hollywood.’

Ormond’s credits since the fallout from the attack and her complaints have largely included roles in TV series and independent movies. She was a Primetime Emmy Award in 2010 for her role in Temple Grandin.

Ormond told Variety, which first reported the lawsuit, that she kept the attack secret – apart from the report to her agents – until the #MeToo movement emerged and she confided in her family. 

She said: ‘I am coming forward with my story now publicly because I feel as if we still need systemic change, and I feel that we need accountability from enablers, in order to get there. I feel that this is what happened with me.’

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